Sunday, July 05, 2009

Health care and national rankings

Over at Disloyal Opposition, J.D. Tuccille writes:

The World Health Organization gave America's health care a miserable 37th-place ranking out of 191 countries, right?

Well ... not so much. Actually, when economist Glen Whitman looked at WHO's rankings, he concluded:
The WHO rankings depend crucially on a number of underlying assumptions—some of them logically incoherent, some characterized by substantial uncertainty, and some rooted in ideological beliefs and values that not everyone shares.

The analysts behind the WHO rankings express the hope that their framework "will lay the basis for a shift from ideological discourse on health policy to a more empirical one." Yet the WHO rankings themselves have a strong ideological component. They include factors that are arguably unrelated to actual health performance, some of which could even improve in response to worse health performance.
Basically, WHO front-loaded its ratings with criteria that guaranteed high rankings to tax-supported systems, and low rankings to systems where people pay for their own care. Said Whitman, "To use the existing WHO rankings to justify more government involvement in health care--such as via a single-payer health care system--is therefore to engage in circular reasoning because the rankings are designed in a manner that favors greater government involvement."

1 comment:

Brate said...

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